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MTG Challenger Decks 2021: Dimir Rogues Upgrade Guide

Got the Dimir Rogues MTG Challenger Deck and want to make it even better? Check out our Dimir Rogues Upgrade Guide!

There is a budget upgrade and a full upgrade for each of the 2021 Challenger decks. You can decide which one will work best for you.

Challenger Deck 2021 Dimir Rogues

Dimir Rogues Challenger Decklist

Creature (24)
Merfolk Windrobber
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
Vantress Gargoyle
Soaring Thought-Thief
Nighthawk Scavenger
Blackbloom Rogue
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Zareth San, the Trickster

Instant (9)
Malakir Rebirth
Drown in the Loch
Eliminate
Heartless Act

Sorcery (2)
Bloodchief’s Thirst

Land (25)
Island
Swamp
Dismal Backwater
Temple of Deceit
Sideboard (15)
Cling to Dust
Duress
Negate
Into the Story
Pestilent Haze
Agonizing Remorse
Bloodchief’s Thirst

Dimir Rogues Challenger Deck 2021 Budget Upgrade

The Dimir Rogues Challenger Decklist has most of what makes Rogues a competitive deck, but misses one key element- Card Draw. For our budget upgrades, we will be adding Card Draw to the deck. Let’s take a look at our new list:

Creature (18)
Ruin Crab
Merfolk Windrobber
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
Soaring Thought-Thief
Zareth San, the Trickster

Instant (13)
Drown in the Loch
Eliminate
Heartless Act
Into the Story

Sorcery (6)
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Of One Mind
Agadeem’s Awakening

Land (23)
Swamp
Island
Clearwater Pathway
Temple of Deceit
Sideboard (15)
Cling to Dust
Duress
Agonizing Remorse
Negate
Skyclave Shade
Crippling Fear
Bloodchief’s Thirst

Here is what we’ve changed:

The total costs of these changes is around $20-30, assuming you are able to sell/ trade your expensive cards such as Rankle, Master of Pranks. Let’s take a look at why they will help take your Dimir Rogues 2021 Challenger Deck to the next level.

Budget Upgrades Explained

Mana Base

The first change is removing the 4 Dismal Backwater. Rogues is a tempo deck that wants as little taplands as possible, and the reward of 1 life is not worth a land that enters the battlefield tapped, even if it taps for Blue and Black.

Because of this, we replace Dismal Backwater with Clearwater Pathway // Murkwater Pathway, as they are both able to tap for Blue and Black, but the Pathway enters the battlefield untapped.

Card Advantage

The next recommended change is the crucial addition of 4 Into the Story in the main deck. To make room for this powerful card advantage spell, cut 2 Blackbloom Rogue, 1 Swamp and 1 Island. Rogues is a deck full of cheap spells and these extra lands are unnecessary.

We add even more card advantage to the deck by cutting 3 Nighthawk Scavenger for 3 Of One Mind. As previously mentioned, Rogues is a deck that wants to play cheap and efficient spells, and being a clunky 3 drop, Scavenger does not fit this bill. Of One Mind is another important part of Dimir Rogues’ card advantage engine, often times acting as a one mana draw two cards which fits Rogues’ game plan perfectly.

Another minor but important change is cutting one Malakir Rebirth for a single copy of Agadeem’s Awakening. While both cards fill similar roles, Agadeem’s Awakening has two key advantages: first, it’s land side can enter untapped. Secondly, it can also return multiple creatures, and doesn’t require a creature to die on the turn you cast it.

More Support

Ruin Crab Dimir Rogues Upgrade Challenger Deck 2021

We also make room for a full playset of Ruin Crab. It’s a crucial card for Dimir Rogues, providing a huge amount of mill over the course of a long game and also functioning as a blocker against many aggressive strategies.

Cut 3 Vantress Gargoyle and 1 Merfolk Windrobber for these. Vantress Gargoyle, while a very strong card, is simply not as strong as Ruin Crab in this deck, mainly because it is not a Rogue and costs 2 mana. Merfolk Windrobber, while a one mana Rogue, is a card that feels awful in multiples, which is why we trim it for a Ruin Crab.

The final change made in the main deck is cutting 1 Rankle, Master of Pranks for a Heartless Act. While Rankle is a strong card, it costs 4 mana and can only be cast at sorcery speed. It does not provide an immediate game winning advantage like Zareth San. Because of this, we replace Rankle for a Heartless Act, which is a much better fit with this deck.

Sideboard

There are also 2 changes to make to the sideboard. While generally I prefer to leave the Sideboard as it is and let people optimize it depending on their expected metagame, there are some necessary upgrades in this Dimir Rogues Upgrade Guide.

Firstly, we cut the 2 Into the Story. While it’s great to play 6 Into the Story, we are now already playing 4 in the Maindeck which means we can no longer play 2 in the Sideboard. We replace them with 2 Skyclave Shade, which is a highly versatile card that is great in many matchups.

The second Sideboard change is 2 Pestilent Haze for 2 Crippling Fear. Crippling Fear, acts as a one sided board wipe against most aggressive decks, meaning that it is a clear upgrade over Pestilent Haze.

That’s it for our budget upgrades. Now let’s take a look at the full upgrade for Dimir Rogues.

Dimir Rogues 2021 Challenger Deck – Full Upgrade

Creature (15)
Merfolk Windrobber
Ruin Crab
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
Soaring Thought-Thief

Instant (15)
Didn’t Say Please
Drown in the Loch
Eliminate
Heartless Act
Mystical Dispute
Into the Story

Sorcery (6)
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Of One Mind
Lullmage’s Domination
Agadeem’s Awakening

Land (24)
Island
Swamp
Clearwater Pathway
Fabled Passage
Temple of Deceit
Zagoth Triome
Castle Locthwain
Sideboard (14)
Skyclave Shade
Crippling Fear
Dead Weight
Negate
Cling to Dust
Duress
Lullmage’s Domination
Mystical Dispute

Companion (1)
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

The full upgrade for Dimir Rogues is based on Toni Ramis Pascual’s list from the Star City Games $5K Strixhaven Championship Qualifier. They piloted the deck to a 2nd place finish overall. Here are the changes you have to make to the budget version:

Full Upgrade – Explained

These are the changes you have to make from budget version to get to Pascual’s main deck. Let’s give them a look.

Didn't Say Please Dimir Rogues Upgrade Challenger Deck 2021

Firstly, all three copies of Zareth San are replaced for a suite of counterspells. In the current metagame, counterspells are very important as Sultai Ultimatum is the best deck, and games against it are often decided by whether or not their 7 mana spells resolve. Zareth San also can’t be played in a deck that wants to play Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a companion, so it makes sense to cut it for countermagic.

Bloodchief’s Thirst is swapped out for a Lullmage’s Domination. This is because of Lullmage’s Dominations’ power against many aggressive creature decks, especially Lovestruck Beast decks. Against decks like these, it is cheaper to steal a Lovestruck Beast with Domination then it would be to kill it with Bloodchief’s Thirst. Lullmage’s Domination is also just better in a situation like this, as it puts the stolen card into play under your control as a potential blocker.

One Eliminate is replaced for a Castle Locthwain. This allows you to keep hitting your land drops, while also giving you extra potential to grind into the late game.

1 Agadeem’s Awakening replaces 1 Of One Mind. Both spells represent a powerful two-for-one effect, but Agadeem’s Awakening doubles as a land. However, it is significantly more expensive and much more situational then Of One Mind, which is why we see only one added here.

Mana Base

Fabled Passage MTG

The final main deck changes are to the mana base. 1 Island and 5 Swamps are replaced by 4 Fabled Passage and 2 Zagoth Triome. Despite these lands sometimes entering the battlefield tapped, they act as great mana fixing, adding to the consistency of your mana base.

Additionally, Zagoth Triome acts as a redraw in the late game due to its cycling ability. Fabled Passage is also strong in Rogues, as it allows you to have two triggers off of your Ruin Crabs. Due to it’s cycling ability and counting as a swamp, allowing your Castle Locthwain to enter the battlefield untapped, we cut one Temple of Deceit for one more Zagoth Triome.

Sideboard

Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Dimir Rogues Upgrade Challenger Deck 2021

There is also one essential change to the Sideboard, which is the addition of Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a companion. Lurrus fits this deck perfectly, allowing you to grind into the late game. It does this while barely restricting the permanents you are able to play, as Rogues is a deck that plays low-cost efficient cards.

As for the rest of the sideboard, how you change it should depend on the decks that you expect to battle against. For some ideas, check out decklists from recent tournaments to look at the cards they’re playing, or ask me in the comments about the decks that you play against the most and I can recommend some sideboard cards to you.

Sneaking Away

Thanks for reading this article. That’s all you need to know about upgrading Dimir Rogues on a budget and into its final form.

If you want to play the Dimir Rogues Challenger Deck, you can buy it on Amazon. You might want to get some sleeves and a deck box for your new deck. You can find the best MTG sleeves here, and deck boxes here.

Want to read about the other Challenger Decks? Check out our Challenger Deck 2021 Guide.

Until next time, and happy milling!

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